Sometimes, when there is concern over a common friend or loved one, a group of individuals will band together to hold an intervention—the goal being to urge that friend or loved one to seek treatment for a drug or alcohol problem. Interventions come in different forms, and there is no “right” way to do it. However, one common component in the intervention is writing intervention letters.

An intervention letter is basically just what it sounds like: Everyone who is involved with the intervention will write a letter—often brief, sometimes long, always personal—to the person whose behavior has become worrying. Each letter will lay out all the reasons for concern. Ideally, these letters will be written from a place of empathy and compassion—not judgment or accusation. After all, addiction is a disease; the point of an intervention letter is to encourage health and wellbeing.

This may feel to you like a fruitless exercise—but trust that it is not. In many cases, an intervention letter can make a world of difference. Remember that those who are struggling with addiction are likely also struggling with denial. They may not realize that they have a problem at all, much less a problem that has done harm to friends or family members. An intervention letter can be clarifying and disillusioning: Hearing directly, from a variety of people, the different, specific ways in which addiction has done damage can be just the revelation that is needed to spur a commitment to recovery. Writing a letter, meanwhile, may allow you to structure your thoughts and get things off your chest better than if you tried to say them out loud.

Note, finally, that you do not have to write your letter all by yourself. Seacliff Recovery has a team of intervention specialists who can assist you in all parts of the process.

Have you ever taken part in an intervention? Share the story with us.

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